Cassie, 25, took to Instagram on Wednesday with a heartfelt, personal post that her Bachelor Nation friends -- including Hannah Godwin, Ali Fedotowsky, and Kelsey Weier -- dubbed "raw" and "beautiful" in the comments section.
Cassie, who met Colton on The Bachelor's 23rd season, announced on May 29 she and Colton had decided to break up after about 18 months of dating and frequent talk of an engagement and spending the rest of their lives together.
Cassie posted a picture of herself sitting in the sand at a beach and wrote, "The last 2 years I've been thrust into a spotlight after living a fairly normal life. Since then, I've been trying to learn how to navigate my life changes while also trying to cling to who I am."
"I used to think a platform would give me a voice, but in many ways a platform takes your voice. For someone like me it's been paralyzing. I can overthink everything. It takes really thick skin to navigate constant drama, fake articles, nasty DMs & comments or rumors started by people who feel entitled to your personal life."
She added, "It takes incredible mental strength to shrug off strangers who regularly criticize your character based on conclusions they drew while watching an edited tv show (I could say so much here). It can feel like an uphill battle."
Cassie suggested she wants to lash out sometimes but always reels herself back in.
"Sometimes I want to just say what I want & forget my sensitive side that strives to do the 'right thing', be calm & rational, be kind, think of others first etc..I feel like saying: ok all you mother ffers hating on me for my breakup-please stop," Cassie continued.
"It's been an awful few months for ME trying to go thru it. I'm STILL going thru it. It's hard enough w/out your know-it-all comments. You literally know nothing so go away."
"One minute I feel my rant above & the next I feel selfish thinking about myself when there are truly critical issues in the world right now: BLM, Covid, toxic politics, matters of life and death; social injustice. Kinda puts personal problems in perspective," she reasoned.
Cassie apparently felt so much stress and buildup that she deleted her Instagram account for a month. She took the break from social media shortly after going public with her split from Colton, 28.
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"Hence, the reason I decided (against advice) to cancel contracts & delete IG for 30 days. The break, tho short, was amazing. What did I do? I read a LOT, got a tattoo, caught up with friends, attended 2 protests, finished 60 HOURS OF SIMUCASE, re-evaluated my dreams and goals, went surfing, dyed my own hair, played my guitar, got out my sewing machine...lived in the moment," Cassie shared.
"Life is short. We all have struggles to figure out. All we can do is the best we know in the moment so when we reflect, we don't feel regret. Always be learning, always be growing."
Cassie concluded, "Ok, I'm done. A bit all over the place, but I'm forcing myself not to overthink. Thx to the majority of u who've been kind & sent concerned messages. It means more than u know. ily all (minus the trolls)."
Supportive and encouraging comments poured in from fans and former The Bachelor alums.
Ali, who starred on The Bachelorette's sixth season, wrote to Cassie, "This is a really beautiful and raw post. I feel and see your heart in this. You are incredible and by sharing your struggles you're helping somebody else."
And Olivia Caridi, who faced hurtful backlash and cyber-bullying after appearing on Ben Higgins' season of The Bachelor, wrote, "Take all the time you need love. I'm sorry you have been going through this. Social media is a scary place. It's easy to say don't listen, but I know that doesn't always work. Just focus on the positive voices of those who care about you!!!!"
When Colton and Cassie announced their decision to part ways, they both insisted it was "mutual" and they intended to remain friends given they've been through so much together and have such respect for one another.
Cassie wrote May 29 on Instagram, "First off, I want to say this is one of the hardest things I have had to share as neither one of us is quite ready to talk about it yet. However, because our relationship is such a public one, our silence on the matter has been speaking for us."
"Colton and I have broken up, but have decided to remain a part of each others lives."
"With all that we have gone through," she continued, "we have a special bond that will always be there. I love Colton very much and have an enormous amount of respect for him. We have both learned and grown so much these past couple years, and will always have each others back. Always."
Colton also expressed similar "will remain friends" sentiments in his posting.
"Its been a crazy few months to say the least, Cass and I have been doing a lot of self-reflecting. Sometimes people are just meant to be friends - and that's okay," he wrote.
"We both have grown immensely and been through so much together - so this isn't the end of our story, it's the start of a whole new chapter for us."
In terms of why Colton and Cassie split, a source recently told E! News, "Cassie was just not as ready for the settled-down life Colton wants right now and she tried to end it a few times."
Another source told the website that Cassie was the one to "initiate the conversation" although both individuals recognized their relationship had run its course.
A People insider shared a similar explanation for what went wrong, saying the pair simply weren't on the same page and Colton and Cassie had essentially just become friends.
"Colton really wanted to settle down and get married -- he's been ready for a long time," the inside said. "And Cassie just wasn't ready. They both knew it wasn't going to work."
Quarantining together at Cassie's parents' home in Huntington Beach, CA, in recent months among the coronavirus pandemic reportedly pulled the blinders off their eyes and made Colton and Cassie realize their romance wasn't exactly passionate.
Colton announced on March 20 that he had tested positive for COVID-19, but he eventually made "a full recovery" thanks to Cassie taking care of him. Once he was back feeling like his old self again, Colton traveled to Colorado alone to see his family, which sparked rumors there was trouble in paradise with Cassie.
"We have decided we're not moving in together until we're married. So we have something to look forward to in that step," Colton said on the March 31 episode of Us Weekly's "Here for the Right Reasons" podcast, adding that Cassie has been extremely busy with work and school.
"She still has her internship and some time to put into that and it takes a lot of work for her to do that and takes a lot of her energy and focus. I can't imagine having to plan for a wedding and we still don't want a long engagement. So we want to make sure that timing-wise it's all right."
In addition, Colton had said on the podcast he and Cassie were definitely "up for" more reality TV.
"We've both talked about that and we're very hopeful that something might happen. We don't know, but we're definitely onboard with it. I understand the risks involved... but we both like and enjoy being on-camera. I don't see anything wrong with saying that," Colton shared.
"We like opening up when we can and when we feel it's appropriate, so we wouldn't mind it."
In his new memoir, The First Time, Colton admitted he and Cassie briefly split and went their separate ways in August 2019, People reported.
"To put it very frank, after the show, we realized we weren't communicating as well as we once did," Colton revealed in the book that was published in March.
"Nobody was forcing us to talk about real things going on, so we let a lot of things build up... In a weird way, I kind of broke up with myself. I was like, I feel like we need to figure this out and in order to do that, we need space. She agreed. So it was a mutual thing."
Colton had made up his mind before even finishing out his round of overnight Fantasy Suite dates.
Colton had therefore built up a lot of anticipation for his Fantasy Suite date with Cassie, and it seemed he was ready and willing to lose his virginity to her during their romantic evening together.
However, Cassie attempted to quit The Bachelor at that stage in the process because she didn't feel ready to get engaged after dating Colton for such a short period of time.
Colton nearly ended production because he was so devastated, but he fought for Cassie to stay and ultimately convinced her to give him another chance.
Cassie was hesitant to continue but decided to stick around for Colton now that pressure of an engagement was off the table, and then she proceeded to meet his family on the show and fall in love with him once filming wrapped.